Job Postings



Sioux Falls Zoo & Aquarium

Closing Date
March 18, 2023

Come join us at the Great Plains Zoo!

The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History is seeking a full-time Zookeeper in our Cat/Bear area. Come and work with Amur Tigers, Snow Leopards, American Red Wolves, Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, Coastal Brown Bears, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Bison, Bactrian Camels, and much more.

Job Summary

Zookeepers are responsible for the specialized work involving all the health and welfare of native and exotic animals through feeding, enclosure maintenance, behavioral observation and training, enrichment and health care maintenance and treatment. Zookeepers at this facility work with a variety of species across several different taxonomic classes on a daily basis.

Reports To

Area Supervisor

Essential Functions
· Provide all aspects of daily care for the animals in assigned exhibits and holding areas including but not limited to:
Innovative animal husbandry that is in compliance with AZA and USDA standards.
Preparation and feeding of approved diets.
Monitoring of physical and behavioral aspects of the animals under assigned care.
Implementation of the behavioral program of the animals under assigned care which include the animal training (operant conditioning) and enrichment programs.
Designing and maintaining proper animal enclosures/props/exhibits.
Utilizing preventative husbandry techniques and providing proactive health care as required.
Provide proper care for neonates and young (may require care outside of normal working hours).
· Maintain exhibits and holding areas in a clean, aesthetically pleasing, and presentable condition at all times. Includes performing general maintenance and repair of exhibits: painting, repairing fences and shelters, abating erosion, removing weeds, and snow removal. Maintains the cleanliness of other areas such as breakrooms, hallways etc.
· Observe the animal collection for any signs of illness, lethargy, injury, or dietary problems and report any problems to the Veterinarian, Area Supervisor, and/or Animal Care Director.
· Assist the Veterinarian, Area Supervisor, and/or Animal Care Director in routine animal examinations and medicate animals with any prescribed treatments.
· Establish and maintain effective working relationships with fellow employees as well as interact and communicate well with the general public.
· Maintain daily reports, medical records, enrichment logs, and other records as needed in the assigned area.
· Give presentations to guests on a regular basis (Keeper Chats) and answers guests questions about animals and exhibits. This engagement of Zoo’s guests should extend to being willing to provide Behind the Scenes area tours, participate in media related events, participate in public relations projects and work special events in area as necessary.
· Capture, handle, and move animals using accepted Great Plains Zoo practices to facilitate internal movement, external shipping, medical procedures, or normal routines. Perform basic restraint, crating/uncrating and transport of animals as required and must have the ability to operate various sizes of animal squeeze cages.
· Other duties as assigned by the Area Supervisor or Animal Care Director

· Must be able to follow written and oral instructions.
· Must be flexible, self-motivated, enthusiastic and a team player.
· Must demonstrate punctual attendance, reliability and good time management skills.
· Must be capable of dealing with emergencies calmly and efficiently.
· Must be able to shoot rifles, shotguns and capture dart guns as required and/or directed to assist in the animal escape and recovery plan.
· Proficiency in MS Office products (Word, Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint).

Supervisory Responsibilities
This position helps to oversee and train Junior Zookeepers, interns, volunteers and seasonal employees; however, this position does not have any direct reports.

Work Environment
Must be able to tolerate and be exposed to strong odors, toxic or caustic chemicals, dust, hay, animal fur/hair/dander, and wet or humid conditions (non-weather) and all variable outdoor weather conditions.

Physical Demands
Must be able to climb ladders/stairs, lift crates/animals and / or equipment weighing 70 lbs., operate mowers, handle fires hoses, operate weed eaters, hay elevators, motorized carts, tractors, dump truck, pickup truck, load and operate wheel barrows loaded up to 150 lbs., be agile and flexible to maneuver in and around the animals within exhibits, corrals and holding areas.

No travel necessary.

Education and Pre-requisites

Required Education and Experience
Requires a bachelor’s degree in Zoology, Biology, Animal Science or other related degree; or an equivalent level of work experience and education as determined by the hiring authority.

Preferred Education and Experience
· Previous animal training and/or Zookeeper experience.
· Experience in an AZA accredited facility is preferred.

Additional Qualifications
· Maintain a current tetanus vaccination (5 years) and be willing to be TB tested annually.
· Must be certified or able to become certified in CPR/AED within 1 year of employment.
· Must be able to work weekends, holidays and evenings as required.
· Must have a valid driver’s license and be able to pass a pre-employment background check.
· Covid-19 and Flu Vaccines encouraged; must following masking protocols as determined by organization.

Other Duties
This job description is not designed, nor should it be interpreted to cover or contain a comprehensive list of all qualifications, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee. Qualifications, duties and/or responsibilities may change, or new ones may be assigned at any time with or without notice.

Compensation and benefits

Full-time positions include competitive pay and a generous benefits package that includes health, dental, vision, life and short and long term disability insurances, a 401(k) plan with matching contributions, paid holidays and a PTO allowance.

On September 27, 2022 the Governing Boards of the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History and the Butterfly House & Aquarium voted to merge the two organizations. The Sioux Falls Zoo & Aquarium was created Jan. 1, 2023. The organization will operate on dual campuses: Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History (805 S. Kiwanis Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104) and Butterfly House & Aquarium (4320 S Oxbow Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57106) until such time as construction can be completed for one campus at 805 S. Kiwanis Ave., Sioux Falls.

Our organization is growing – come and join our collaborative team atmosphere and be a part of something great! A new lion exhibit will start construction this Spring!

Relocation to Sioux Falls, SD – Looking for a great place to live and work?

The Greater Sioux Falls area offers excellent livability and was ranked #10 best places to live in America! Our region has received national recognition as one of the best cities to live, work, and grow! Learn more about the Greater Sioux Falls Region here:

• Workers keep more of what they make with no state personal income or personal property tax
• Affordable housing
• Cost of living is well below the national average
• Big City Shopping
• Over 80 Parks
• Nearly 30 miles of bike paths along the Big Sioux River
• Science museums
• Live music with over 50 free outdoor concerts each summer
• Numerous Swimming Centers, Gyms, Golf Courses
• More than 600 Restaurants

Application instructions

Please email resume and cover letter to HR Director Kelli Bultena –

Learn more about our organization at